Strawberry Shortcake with Crunchy Biscuits

Growing up, I only knew strawberry shortcake as something made with a sponge-cake (usually the store-bought little cakes they sell next to the berries) that invariably became a soggy mess, usually before the first bite.

I always asked for just the berries and whipped cream, please.

Then my husband and I were invited to some friends house shortly after we were married. My heart sank (OK, maybe I’m exaggerating…) when my friend said she was serving strawberry shortcake – I didn’t know her well enough to ask for no cake – and I resigned myself to the soggy cake.

Except, she started making biscuits for the shortcake! And not regular biscuits, but drop biscuits (a very important distinction, you’ll see). This was a revelation to me, although she looked at me like I was very weird, and said something like, “it’s just a biscuit.”

Anyway, I ate every last bit of the shortcake. It was warm and every bite was crunchy with the strawberry and whipped cream. Yum. I was in love with strawberry shortcake.

In order to have the most nooks and crannies to get all crisp and crunchy, you need to make drop biscuits. Isn’t it nice that the super-easy one is the one you’re supposed to make? It’s literally a 5-10 minute job to get them ready for the oven. In fact, I usually do it while I’m making dinner, so that they will be nice and warm for dessert.

I just use a basic biscuit recipe (this one from the big Fanny Farmer Cookbook), that has an adaptation at the bottom for drop biscuits. You just need to add more liquid for drop ones.

I never use Bisquick, etc. I just don’t understand this product, I mean- biscuits are one of the easiest things to make (this was one of the things they made on the Oregon Trail!), needing just flour, butter, baking powder, salt, and milk. I need a product to premix the flour, salt and baking powder? Or worse yet, to have shortening added (give me butter any day!) And then, of course, all the other things that come with a packaged food…

I like to have room temperature strawberries. They seem to be more flavorful. So I cut them and lightly sugar (I added 2 tablespoons to this 4 cups of berries) them and let them sit on the counter until I serve the shortcake.

After about 15 minutes in a hot (425) oven, they are wonderfully browned. See all those light and darker brown spots? Crunchy goodness.

Then of course you have to whip the cream. I always whip it in my Kitchenaid mixer. I love my Kitchenaid and I’ve never had a problem with cream not whipping for me when I use it. And I get to do other things while it’s working. Bonus!

I use about a 1/4 cup sugar (I just use regular, never had a problem with it, but I know some like to use powdered) to a cup of cream, which lightly sweetens the cream.

When it’s time to serve, split the biscuit and pile on the berries. I leave the accumulated berry juice behind. After all this work (ha!) to get crisp biscuits, I’m not going to ruin it by dousing it with berry juice! The juice will be good in tomorrow’s smoothie (or whatever).

Replace the top of the biscuit and add a dollop of whipped cream. Mmm…heaven.

If you’ve only had sponge-cake shortcakes, try this, please and see if you don’t fall in love with Strawberry Shortcake, too.

Unless, of course, you’re already in love with the sponge-cake shortcakes, which is OK. Really.

We need all kinds to make the world go ’round.





  1. says

    How interesting!

    I’ve made drop biscuits for years, and occasionally for strawberry shortcake, but I’m on the OTHER end of the spectrum.

    I love biscuits.

    I love strawberry shortcake.

    But the only time I would normally use biscuits for strawberry shortcake is if I HAD to (which is more often than not, now that most of my family is gluten-free.) Why? Because I LOVE strawberry-juice soaked shortcake, with whipped cream of course. For some reason, crunchy shortcake does not appeal to me. I’m not saying that I adore the store-bought sponge-cake shortcake forms. However, they do a WONDERFUL job of soaking up all that yummy juice. In fact, our former church has an annual strawberry feed, which ends up being an all-you-can-eat strawberry shortcake feed. A berry farmer in the church provides the berries, church members bring various varieties of shortcake and whipped cream/cool whip. After my first obligatory ‘normal’ serving of shortcake, berries and whipped cream, I would always return for a serving of shortcake, and the juicy, more mushed berries and cream.

    Thanks for sharing your perspective. It makes me realize that when I serve strawberry shortcake to guests, I need to recognize they might prefer more berries than juice and crunchy shortcake instead of spongy. 😀

  2. Jami @ An Oregon Cottage says

    Ha- I knew there were some out there! :-) Do you like pancakes soggy with maple syrup, too? I like mine crispy so sometimes just dip each bite in syrup, if you can believe it.

    Like I said, we need all kinds…

    That’s very gracious of you to consider your guests that way. I was being a little dramatic about the juice for the post. It’s not THAT bad to get some juice with the cake. :-)

  3. says

    I love SS both ways!!
    I love crisp! I love soggy!

    I do agree about room temp strawberries. Cold ones just don’t fly.

    Very nice post!

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